Governor Mills Declares August 6-7 as Maine’s Second Annual Wild Blueberry Weekend
With Maine’s wild blueberry harvest season now underway, Governor Janet Mills declared August 6-7, 2022, as Maine’s second annual Wild Blueberry Weekend.
The Governor made the announcement during a celebration at the Blaine House, where she was joined by wild blueberry growers and processors, Patricia Kontur, Director of Special Projects, Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine, and Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The event featured a tasting of several wild blueberry-themed products, as well as fresh wild blueberries that are being harvested now. Last year, Maine farmers harvested 105 million pounds of wild blueberries.
“I am proud to declare the second annual Wild Blueberry Weekend in Maine in celebration of our wild blueberries and in honor of the hardworking people who grow and bring them to markets near and far,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I encourage everyone to visit one of the participating wild blueberry farms or to sample Maine-grown wild blueberry products at the many restaurants, ice cream shops, breweries, wineries, and distilleries selling them during Wild Blueberry Weekend.”
In 2021, wild blueberry growers opened their doors for free for the first time during Wild Blueberry Weekend and had fresh wild blueberries, jams, pies, and other products available for guests to purchase. The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine reported that there were thousands of dollars in direct farm sales and thousands of visitors who enjoyed touring the places where wild blueberries grow.
“The success of the first Wild Blueberry weekend last year indicates well-deserved support, as well as curiosity and love for Maine’s iconic berry,” said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. “We are delighted to promote this ongoing tradition of Wild Blueberry Weekend and enthusiastically encourage Maine people to head out to participating businesses to learn, enjoy and support our growers, processors, and food producers as we approach the height of the fresh berry season.”
“After an amazing first event in 2021, we’re thrilled to bring back Wild Blueberry Weekend for its second year, and hope Mainers and visitors will take the time to go to a wild blueberry farm and see for themselves why wild blueberries are so special,” said Patricia Kontur, The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine. “We’re excited to launch the second annual, Maine Wild Blueberry Weekend today with Governor Mills, and hope to make it an annual summer tradition that Mainers and tourists look forward to every year.”
This year, wild blueberry weekend will feature farm tours and other family-friendly activities at 14 wild blueberry farms located in Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Waldo and Washington counties. Additionally, wild blueberry-themed menu items and products will be available throughout the weekend at nearly 50 statewide restaurants, ice cream shops, breweries, wineries, and distilleries. To see the full list of participants, visit www.wildblueberryweekend.com.
“Visitors to our farm during Wild Blueberry Weekend will have the chance to learn that wild blueberries are distinctly different than ordinary blueberries, and have their own rich, cultural history,” said Lisa Hanscom owner of Welch Farm in Roque Bluffs and chair of the Wild Blueberry Weekend grower committee. “Wild blueberries are grown and harvested in a way that is truly unique to our Maine coast landscape.”
Mainers and visitors can plan their family’s weekend adventure by browsing the Wild Blueberry Weekend map that highlights all participating farms and the nearly 50 statewide restaurants, businesses, wineries, breweries and eating establishments featuring wild blueberry-themed menu items during wild blueberry weekend.
The text of the Governor’s proclamation declaring the second Wild Blueberry Weekend is as follows:
WHEREAS, wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) emerged on the rocky, acidic soils of the Barrens of Maine following the retreat of the glaciers more than 10,000 years ago;
WHEREAS, wild blueberries, which are not planted but grow naturally, were first managed and harvested by the Wabanaki and are now grown by 485 Maine farms on 40,000 acres, primarily within Washington, Hancock, Knox, and Waldo counties; and
WHEREAS, Maine produces nearly 100% of all wild blueberries in the United States, and they are one of the top three specialty crops produced in the state; and
WHEREAS, Maine’s wild blueberry growers and businesses are significant contributors to the Maine’s economy and are vital to Maine’s rural communities; and
WHEREAS, wild blueberries can be enjoyed fresh during the height of summer in Maine, while Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) technology allows consumers to buy berries frozen at the peak of freshness all year round, all over the world; and
WHEREAS, Maine wild blueberries are one of the world’s top 10 superfoods, a deep blue fruit that is rich in antioxidants and health benefits; and
WHEREAS, wild blueberries are recognized as Maine’s official state berry; and blueberry pie is recognized as the official State dessert; and
WHEREAS, the Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine is, in this year of 2022, organizing the second annual Wild Blueberry Weekend to encourage residents and visitors to visit wild blueberry farms and participating establishments and eat, drink, and experience the fruit and the landscape where wild blueberries grow; and
Now, THEREFORE, be it resolved that I, Janet T. Mills, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby proclaim the weekend of August 6th and August 7th, 2022 as Wild Blueberry Weekend in Maine, and I encourage all people to recognize the vital contributions made by the State’s wild blueberry growers and businesses to our economy, and to participate in activities that celebrate and honor the Maine blueberry.